Friday, September 30, 2016

After UN action, bishops call for a world without nuclear weapons

Explosion of nuclear bomb. Credit: Romanova Natali via U.N. resolution against further nuclear weapons tests drew praise from the U.S. Catholic bishops, who repeated their support for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in the wake of North Korean weapons tests.
The U.S. bishops’ conference “welcomes the action of the U.N. Security Council as encouraging this important step toward a world without nuclear weapons,” Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, N.M. said Sept. 23. 

The prelate, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, said the U.S. bishops have long supported ratification of a comprehensive test ban.

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution that called on countries to refrain from nuclear weapons testing. It presented the avoidance of nuclear weapons testing as an international norm.

The resolution, proposed by the United States, passed with 14 votes and the abstention of Egypt. The Wall Street Journal said the resolution was largely symbolic.

Sept. 24 marked the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
At present 166 countries, including the Holy See, have signed and ratified the treaty. 

A total of 183 countries have signed the treaty but have not ratified it, including the United States.

The U.S. failed to ratify the treaty in a 1999 Senate vote, although it has observed a national moratorium on nuclear weapons testing since 1992.

The nuclear test ban treaty will not take effect until the U.S. and seven other hold-out nations, North Korea, Egypt, Iran, Israel, China, India and Pakistan, ratify it.

North Korea carried out its fifth nuclear test on Sept. 9. It said it detonated a nuclear warhead that could be mounted on ballistic rockets, CNN reports. 

The explosion was estimated at about 10 kilotons, about two-thirds the power of the bomb the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima during the Second World War.

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